Election an opportunity to break more glass ceilings

Just eight months ago we were celebrating the fact that the number of female legislators had increased by 50%.

30 women were elected compared to 20 in the 2011 elections.

28% of the 108 member legislature compared to 19% in the previous mandate.

The Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin welcomed the change :

“While we still have a long way to match the 51% of the population who are female, this is nonetheless a significant rate of progress.”

If one looks at Nicholas Whyte’s ‘rough guide’ to a 90 seat election it shows 5 women losing out as a result of the 18 seat reduction. This would still leave the percentage of female MLAs around the 28% mark though that will of course be subject to a wide range of variables.

The forthcoming Assembly election may be a sudden development and political parties may obviously be tempted to slot most of the same MLAs back into place again. However this should also be seen as an opportunity for the Assembly to have female representation increase to 1/3 for the first time in its history.

Whilst any increase in female candidates is to be welcomed it counts for little if they are not standing in winnable seats.

We are also yet to see our first openly gay MLA.

Glass ceilings may be broken in this election or not. I hope that all our parties are giving due consideration to the inequalities that we still have in our political makeup as they sit down to select their runners for the race back to the Hill.

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  • Jag

    As Arlene Foster amply demonstrates, there’s not necessarily a correlation between gender balance and competence (and corruption, if you believe some, denied by DUP).

  • Jag

    I wonder will the Tories helicopter in another crop of day-trippers? I haven’t heard that “people ask me on the doorsteps if I’m a Protestant Sikh or a Catholic Sikh” funny for, what, eight months?

  • Gopher

    I don’t see it that way. In football terms you are going to see SF and the DUP “park the bus”. I don’t see them running any more than is already incumbent. Nicola Mallon looks toast in North Belfast and if Claire Bailey holds in South Belfast it is a three in 5 chance it is woman who loses out. The only interest candidate wise is whether Marty stands and who will be Carrols running mate in West Belfast

  • Mr Caseydog

    Agree with everything you say Daithi, but don’t forget ‘it’s the economy, stupid’.

    Advances in the liberal agenda will not compensate for inequality in the economic agenda.

    The Irish Labour Party thought that their support for gay marriage would protect them from an electorate on whom they had imposed austerity.

    It didn’t, with catastrophic results from which they may never recover.

  • Obelisk

    ‘It’s never the economy, stupid’ in Northern Ireland. It’s the border, stupid. It’s always the border. It always will be the border. Anyone who hopes that this election will be the one where real issues come to the fore are set to be disappointed, just as they were all the other times.

  • Nevin

    “political parties may obviously be tempted to slot most of the same MLAs back into place again.”

    Daithí, your SF colleagues in North Antrim are running your predecessor and successor, Philip McGuigan, again. Did none of your female colleagues throw their hats in the ring?

    Correction: My landline and broadband connection was down for the first fortnight in December. I’ve just seen that Daithí is no longer a member of Sinn Féin.

  • SDLP supporter

    Would be quite surprised if Nichola loses out in North Belfast. In a few short months she has been an energetic and impressive MLA.

  • Mr Caseydog

    Of course the union will always be a major factor here, but it is not the only factor. Thank goodness!

    The rise in support for PBP is evidence that economic issues are playing an increasing part in elections,albeit only in the nationalist community.

    SF are very aware of this. Their strong support for measures to alleviate the worst effect of the British govt austerity programme testifies to this.

  • Gopher

    Perhaps Alliance transfers will see her home which will then put Chulilin under pressure so one woman or the other is favourite to lose out. The quota will be around 6000. Mallon does have the advantage that Chuillin won’t have the benefit of Kelly’s surplus with a higher quota, but if has to be noted the margin is very tight.

  • mjh

    It’s most unlikely that Nichola Mallon will lose her seat. It would require a 2.6% swing from SDLP to SF to achieve that. That is equivalent to the SDLP losing a quarter of their North Belfast first preference directly to SF in 10 months.

    To put that into context they “only” lost 22.7% of their NI vote in the five years between 1998 and their loss of nationalist leadership in 2003.

    That level of swing across NI would reduce them to between 3 and 6 seats in the next Assembly (I haven’t calculated in sufficient detail to be more precise).

  • Granni Trixie

    Totally agree.

  • Gopher

    Who do you see losing out?

  • mjh

    Without a big swing to SF (2.6% as in my comment below) there would be only 1 SF seat in North Belfast on last year’s voting patterns. Chuillin would have finished runner up around 830 odd votes behind McCausland (estimating Alliance transfers based on average 2014 council election patterns).

    So your original gender balance point still stands.

    A much smaller swing of 0.6% could give Alliance the DUP’s third seat. If McCallister runs for them again that would represent a shift in the gender balance.

  • Gopher

    The worry for me with regards Mallon and I don’t doubt your calculations here are the SDLP vote goes down every single election and Chuilin was ahead through the whole count.

    Will SF give Chuilin a safe seat?

  • Gaygael

    I am very proud that my party stood 9 women and 9 men in 2016 and we got one of each elected. We belive in a radical notion that representative democracy should look like the population it purports to serve. We also made history by standing Ireland’s first ever out transgender candidate and 4 LGBT candidates.
    Some parties have terrible track records (I’m looking at you DUP and 16/16 men in Westminster 2015) and will need to be compelled by legislation.

    At the current rate of progress, I think we will have to wait until the end of this century if we let it happen organically. Time to legislate for quotas.

  • Jag

    How on earth will the DUP retain three seats in north Belfast? Surely the RHI scandal will torpedo at least one DUPer. Can you imagine the canvassing in the bitter wintry weather, with constituents knowing the DUP sanctioned a scheme which pays energy users to use as much heating as they can. As long as the SFers keep sectarian headcounts off the table, which just prods the other side to come out and vote, I think it will be tough for even two DUPers to survive.

    Bye, bye Nelson and quite possibly farewell Willie.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/36151d88fe9e4f863bf3b88c67691b512b33787c47cd88aef14795f5183f5c67.jpg

  • mjh

    Mallon was 143 behind NiChuillin on the first count and, as you say, stayed behind on every stage of the count. On the final stage she still lagged by 69.

    However she benefited from 349 transfers from Kelly on Stage 2, and afterwards was the only SF candidate available for transfers from other candidates.

    With the higher quota in a 5 seat constituency Kelly would not have been elected until the final count, and his surplus of about 120 would not have been distributed since it would be too small to effect the final result.

    In addition all the transfers to SF would have been shared between Kelly and NiChuillin, with Kelly attracting the larger share (assuming they were divided broadly in line with their first preference shares of the SF vote). As a result Mallon would overtake NiChuillin on Stage 4.

    In addition the Alliance candidate, (who was runner up last year and whose votes were therefor never distributed) would have been eliminated on the final count. Based on Alliance transfer patterns in 2014 elections, some 1380 transfers would have gone to SDLP and around 140 to SF.

    This would have put Mallon over quota along with Kelly and one DUP, ahead of 2 DUP elected without reaching quota, and some 1780 votes ahead of NiChuillin (runner up).

  • ulidian

    “compelled by legislation…legislate for quotas” – no thanks. Party candidature should be a matter for the party alone. Politically correct loons like your lot should be told, politely but firmly, to get stuffed.

  • Obelisk

    While you cite the PBP as evidence of normalization, I can’t help but point out how vulnerable they are in the five seat constituencies we have now. Those two will be squeezed, hard. And given how Eamonn McCann sabotaged the assembly motion on Brexit I won’t shed a tear if he loses his seat.

  • Gaygael

    Look south and see the impact quotas made on improved representation. Look how far we are lagging behind other parts of these islands.

    I am no loon. Do you not think it is important that a representative democracy should actually look like its electorate? Or just the preserve of pale, stale straight white men?

  • Jams O’Donnell

    Foot-draggers and dinosaurs like you, “should be told, politely but firmly, to get stuffed.” It is by now well documented that e.g. firms benefit substantially by the inclusion of women board members. National executives will be no exception to this (Arlene notwithstanding).

  • stewart

    “It is by now well documented that e.g. firms benefit substantially by the inclusion of women board members”
    where and by whom?

  • Mr Caseydog

    McCann be vulnerable but his partner Carroll could bring back a second PBP seat in the republican heartland of West Belfast. No mean achievement and a reminder to SF that ‘it’s the economy, stupid’.

    The further decline in nationalist voting could be attributed to perceived SF/SDLP failure to address inequality. Having said that, in a devolved institution, it is difficult for them to combat Tory austerity measures. They get whacked even though they didn’t instigate the spending cuts.

    On the question of McCann : he has adopted such a low profile as to be almost irrelevant. Many people expected him to become a left wing Jim Allister.

  • johnny lately

    Do you believe there will be an election mjh because the issues needed to bring Sinn Fein back into the assembly on Monday, issues already agreed but reneged upon by both the British and the DUP, are the same issues that will be demanded to be honoured by both Sinn Fein and the SDLP after any elections. Whats the point in elections other than the threat of them, it doesn’t suit anyone and the potential damage caused to community relations from a likely acrimonious election campaign could scupper any hope of a settlement for years.

  • Katyusha

    Can’t agree, gaygael. Let the parties decide to put forward 50/50 representatives, and if people like it, let them vote for those parties.

    Legislating from the top-down is problematic. It results in not being able to bring talent to the top table (admittedly, less of a problem in NI where talent is thin on the ground) and increases the likelihood of capable women being written off as “token females”, with the insinuation they only got their position because of gender.

    Though I wonder. How many people would be prepared to only vote for candidates, in terms of transfers, in a 50/50 gender ratio?

  • Katyusha

    It is by now well documented that e.g. firms benefit substantially by the inclusion of women board members.

    Not necessarily from the enforcement of this through gender ratios, though.

  • NMS

    Looking at the numbers, Carál NíChuilín is the one in trouble. Provos would need to hold their % and split the vote. An increase in the Alliance vote & their ability to attract transfers, particularly since Naomi Long became leader. The DUP position will be weakened by a likely decline in UUP transfers. Ms NíChuilín receive 20% of Ferguson’s vote last time. The Trot is likely to increase her % at the expense of the Provos, leaving one of the two bombers in trouble.

    My guess is 2 DUP, Gerry Kelly, Nichola Mallon & Nuala McAllister. Internal DUP competition will decide which one of the three wins. But it is possible that there will be three women returned.

    However all of course depends on turnout.

  • NMS

    We will wait and see, but somehow I think Eamon will be back. I would also suggest that Fiona Ferguson will do much better than assumed in North Belfast. She won’t take a seat, but will damage the weaker of Kelly or NíChuilín to ensure one or other joins the ranks of the unemployed.

  • Jag

    It’s difficult to predict in Northern Ireland because there’s no established regular polling that’s trusted, so we can all spin our anecdotes, but my feeling is there will be such a displacement from the DUP that a UUPer might just get in, even a PUPer, there is that much ill-will towards the DUP and the RHI scandal.

  • Steptoe

    True equality is an aspiration for any progressive society. However, I fear Gerry Adams republicanisation of equality in his terrible’Trojan horse’ analogy has created perceptions (incorrectly) that equality is a republican objective exclusively and caused untold damage to its true pursuit. Equality is not orange or green and the only ‘bastard’ to break is inequality itself.

  • Gopher

    Im not so sure that Alliance – Green – SDLP is not a more valid transfer pattern in Assembly elections. Given That Kelly will likely make quota on PBP transfers at some stage it wil be interesting see what sort of surplus is left. It will be a close run thing and will likely boil down to who the electorate have the emotional attachment with, Mallon and the SDLP or Chuilllin and SF.

  • mjh

    I now think there is little chance of avoiding an election, johnny. Partly because SF appear to have committed themselves so deeply that it would be difficult (though not totally impossible) for them to reverse.

    But mainly because the total desperation of the DUP to avoid an election will have convinced SF that there will never be a better chance of reducing the DUP to below the 30 seats they need to move a Petition of Concern on their own. The end of that DUP veto would create a totally different dynamic in the Assembly, opening up possibilities such as a Marriage Equality Act, and an Irish Language Act, without the need for the negotiation of Fresh Start Two.

    It could even end up being a positive thing.

  • Neil

    I know some people who voted PBP are not pleased having belatedly learned more about their stance on certain issues, the EU among them. Anecdotal obviously but I also foresee a squeeze on their performance last year.

  • Paddy Reilly

    It isn’t the RHI scandal that will torpedo the third DUP MLA (in my opinion it will affect the voting hardly any), but the change in the number of seats.

    Under the new system a quota is 16.66%. The DUP have 35% of the 1st preference vote. Two quotas is 33.33%. This guarantees them two seats but leaves them just 1.66% over with which to attempt for a third. Simply not enough. They might get the TUV’s 1.8% but that is nowhere near a quota. It would require considerable disarray in all the other parties to turn this into a challenge.

  • ulidian

    They wouldn’t need 30 seats to invoke a POC on issues like “marriage equality” & a language act – at the very least Allister would join them.

  • Vince

    Claire Bailey & Nichola Mallon should both hold their seats, comfortably so. North Belfast can’t afford to lose someone of the calibre of Mallon who works energetically and earnestly for all. Failure to re-elect her would be a sad commentary on the state of our democracy. The DUP & SF as governing parties each deserve to lose a seat there.

  • Paddy Reilly

    I was very impressed by a documentary examining the candidates for a post in charge of the lighting in the Albert Hall. Something like 250 people applied, all of them men.

    Now some jobs are possibly too rough for women to want to do, and one can understand them shying away. But there is nothing hard about lighting, so why did women refrain from applying?

    Demanding 50/50 in government, while not enforcing this requirement in common or garden jobs is not promoting equality: it is building a top-heavy world in which privileged women receive undeserved promotion and ordinary men are reduced to mere work-horses.

  • file

    Just because Gerry Adams said something does not make the point he made either anathema or gospel. Equality has been shown to be a severe challenge to the DUP, and to the UUP before them. They tend to view nationalists getting equality as ‘concessions’ when they are merely a matter of getting to where the starting point should have been in the first place. If the implementation of equality proves to be such a problem for the DUP or the UU, no one should lament the breaking of such bastards, no matter who first said it.

  • johnny lately

    It would still take a cross community vote to bring about an Irish language act or a Marriage equality act and the Ulster Unionists act no different than the DUP when they hold the reigns of power so in reality it’s simply kicking the can down the road the same issues will be there when it’s picked up again.

  • Gopher

    I dont think many MLA’s will hold their seat comfortably in a 5 seat assembly election. I dont share MJH’s confidence with regards the certainty of transfers. I believe the DUP and SF deserve to lose more than a seat but that will involve people tranferring from UUP to SDLP, Green and Alliance and vice versa. Its just now a question of how badly people want change. If they dont you will have to write your sad commentary of the state of democracy with regards Claire and Nichola

  • Gaygael

    Jim Allister has never signed a PofC. He has lamented its use and abuse. I don’t expect he ever will.

    I disagree vehemently with his politics, but I admire his adherence to his principles.

  • Gaygael

    ‘Now some jobs are possibly too rough for women to want to do’.
    Decisions about how we legislate our society and democratic system should be made by people who actually look like all the interests of our society. Not just a particular cohort. In our instance, straight, white, middle class Christian men, who are hugely disproportionally represented.
    Remember those gerrymandered Unionist governments? Hugely unrepresentative.

    By the way, didnt you say that 2016/the election after 2016, would usher in a Nationalist majority/SF FM?

  • Gopher

    The problem I see is SF have stated they will go into negoiations after the election, win lose or draw. That has given the DUP the option to do exactly the same thing.

  • Jag

    What a difference 24 hours makes! The DUP seems to have finally gotten the message – this election is on. And for one ambitious South Belfast candidate, Arlene appears to be a liability. Twitter page yesterday and Twitter page today.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/74d36aedf177689ea8183f7bc54fdcf589f391ebccac3b118d7a3d15e5da96ee.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/552c3b384076794a5d538f26ad8c80c49df378d36442320144e6a2088434a300.jpg

  • Paddy Reilly

    As far as I know, Upper class homosexual Black Muslims do not form the majority of Northern Ireland’s population so their lack of representation is not a fault of the system: we are stuck with Middle Class straight White Christians.

    My demographic predictions were that Catholics would outnumber Protestants by the end of 2016 in the population in general, though it might take another 18 months for this to apply the electorate (the over 18s). After this one would expect Nationalist to become a larger designation than Unionist. Please note that is not the same thing as a “Nationalist majority”: plurality would be a better word.

    “The first election after 2016” assumes the normal passage of time between these events, i.e. 5 years. Calling one in the first month of 2017 is pushing your luck, rather. The acquisition of the 1st Minister position could be delayed by inequalities in the constituencies and the ability of the DUP to keep expanding at the expense of other Unionist parties.

    If the DUP were actually to lose votes as a result of the RHI scandal it would cease to be the largest party and SF would indeed take the 1st Minister position: but this is precisely why I do not expect this to happen. The DUP have arranged things so they can blackmail the Unionist population into voting for them, however corrupt their régime may appear.

  • SDLP supporter

    Jag, brilliantly spotted. Congratulations. I suspect that Snarling Arlene may be having a bit of a nervous breakdown at present, having realised that she has made a total mess of things. Not beyond the bounds of possibility that tomorrow she will say something like
    ‘Well, if HM Secretary of State requests me to stand aside and have a sworn public inquiry, I will be happy to accede, but I am not doing this at the behest of Sinn Fein, etc etc ad nauseam’.

  • Jag

    Wasn’t the quota 14.1% last time out, yet with 35% of the 1st pref, the DUP still won three seats?

    I don’t think this is May 2016 though. RHI is central to this election, and there’ll be a steady stream of new angles to the scandal throughout the campaign, (will beneficiaries be named under privilege tomorrow in the Assembly?), and that’s why I think there will be a huge displacement.

  • Jag

    I think the DUP thought SF were bluffing to max out on concessions, but the message from SF grass roots was “hold an election now!”, most of the SF candidate selection conventions have now taken place, SF have designed their campaign slogan “Don’t get angry, get even” and they’re off.

    The DUP is still in shock, and I note that not a single press release has been issued on the DUP website since last Tuesday, which is, I believe, a record period of silence. Arlene is a laughing stock, I heard someone from what you’d regard as the unionist tradition last night sickly joke no-one could cut off Arlene’s neck because it’s made of brass. I just wish there was proper polling in Northern Ireland to give a birds eye view of the significance of these anecdotes; I think the DUP will be decimated because of the RHI scandal, with the vote either not turning out or being displaced into other (mostly unionist) parties.

  • On the fence!

    I really do wish the “green” party would rebrand themselves with a more suitable title, whatever it may be.

    I do a lot of environmental work yet they are just about the last outfit I would ever consider voting for (closely run by both SF and DUP).

    Are they now advocating anti-democratic policies as well?

  • On the fence!

    Excellent illustration!

    I have to declare here and now that I DO NOT believe in equality. I still think that as a stereotypical “pale, stale, straight, white man” I should stand back for a woman to go through a door in front of me, stop to help a woman in trouble at the side of the road, help a woman struggling in a car park with numerous bags of shopping, etc, etc, etc.

    If that in some way makes me an awful person then I gladly accept the title!

  • mjh

    IMO both parties are anxious to be in government.

    The difference I see in their positions is:

    So far the DUP have not raised any serious institutional issues that they wish to re-negotiate – and it is hard to see what they might want to raise in the future. After the election if SF were willing to go into an Executive I can’t see why the DUP would walk away.

    I believe that SF’s attitude towards radical re-negotiation (as opposed to the standard pre-Executive forming negotiations) will be contingent on the election results. If the DUP come back with 30 or more seats then prepare for “crisis talks”. If the DUP take a bloody nose SF will be anxious to bank that, exploit the political opportunities that could open up, and remove the risk of fighting a second Assembly election so that they can concentrate their attention on preparing for a potentially challenging General Election in the South, which could occur at any time.

  • mjh

    The requirement for a cross community vote only arises if a Petition of Concern is tabled. Otherwise its simple majority.

    That was what stopped it from being passed last time. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-politics-34692546

    So if the DUP lose the numbers to move a PoC on their own it would entirely depend on the UUP . Would they join the DUP in a PoC? It would certainly be worth SF permitting this to be tested out.

    Similarly an Irish Language Act might depend on the UUP not blocking it. That would partly be the responsibility of the proposers (which should probably be moved as a Private Members Bill with wide multi-party support) to attempt to frame the contents of the Bill, and the manner in which they promote it, so that it not only maximises support but also minimises potential objections.

    Normal politics, in other words.

  • Dreary Steeple

    Both parties need to be put out to pasture to cool their heels, for a period and left wondering where they went wrong. However I can’t see SF taking a hit.

  • Paddy Reilly

    35% on a 14.28% quota gives two guaranteed seats plus 6.43% over. That’s nearly half way to another quota. Add to that transfers from UUP, TUV, PUP, UKIP and you may snatch a seat. 1.66%, with a much larger quota is not enough.

    I don’t think RHI will make the slightest bit of difference. The message “Vote for anyone but DUP and the Fenians get the 1st Minister” will make its mark. But this remains to be seen. I cannot claim to have any valid insights into the Unionist mindset.

  • Vince

    Will certainly do that whilst simultaneously getting tickets for the boat or plane.

  • Jag

    Who knows, but remember Gerry Adams last week saying

    “She [Arlene Foster] is a co-equal partner in the Office of First and Deputy First Minister. She can continue in that office but only for as long as Sinn Féin allows it.”

    After MMG resigned which had the effect of booting her out last Monday (something she steadfastly opposed for three weeks), does anyone on the ground think Arlene’s position is practically any different or superior to the co-first minister, and won’t anyone suggesting that be dismissed as dishonest? I don’t know what the grass roots are thinking in north Belfast but certainly in south Belfast, RHI is centerstage.

  • J D

    Foster looks like the type to take the wooden spoon to the kids. And the candidates. Emma best stuff the telephone directory down her pants.

  • Redstar

    Ah yes Mrs Hypocrisy, sorry Pengelly

    Lectures us all that politicians can have no truck with terrorists and then has her terrorist “da” assist her on the campaign trail.

    Handy to be able to show ” we’re still with you lads even though we gotta pretend we’re not!!!!”

  • Granni Trixie

    I have ‘little’ time for Pengelly but I do not think it is right to cast up her fathers background. Surely we have been through this previously on Slugger?

  • Redstar

    I am not. This thread is specifically related to female politicians and how they are advancing in politics. I merely point out that she is happy to use her father despite his terrorist background to help her in her political career. Surely it’s fair to highlight such hypocrisy from someone who condemns other politicians using connections to terror. She chooses to involve him directly in her campaign so that certainly merits scrutiny and comment if there’s blatant hypocrisy

  • lizmcneill

    What’s holding a door got to do with equality? Do you just let it shut in the face of a man?

  • Granni Trixie

    Funny you should say that .- I stand back for people to go through doors, help carrying shopping, and try to help men and women with prams or wheelchairs or sticks onto the bus. Politeness costs nothing and long may such courtesies continue.
    (alas can’t help anybody with car problems at side or road or anywhere).

  • Gaygael

    I stand back for anyone going through a door in front of me. I would help anyone struggling at the side of the road, or in a car park with bags. I don’t confine that to just women.
    It’s called civility and being a decent citizen.

  • Gaygael

    What is anti democratic about policy to ensure that representative democracy looks like the electorate?

    What’s anti democratic about supporting legislation to redress inequality?

  • Gaygael

    Women make up 51% of the population. How is that reflected in our political system?
    LGBT people make up 5-7% of the population. How is that reflected in outbreaks political system?
    People with disabilities represent 19% of the population. How is that reflected in our political system?

    Paddy, I can go and dig out the screenshots. In advance of the last election, you were calling sf gains. They lost a seat and 2.2%. Nationalism as a whole list 3 seats and 5.1%. That’s a serious reversal.

  • On the fence!

    Where is the inequality in current legislation then?

    What is there to prevent a woman entering politics on the same basis as any man?

  • On the fence!

    “What is anti democratic about policy to ensure that representative democracy looks like the electorate?”

    Because our politicians, like it or not, have all been elected democratically. Whether than be 100% male, 100% female, whatever, matters not. That’s what the population have choosen.

    You start to manipulate that to whatever end and you are denying the democratic will of the people.

    It’s pretty plain to see surely.

  • On the fence!

    Of-course not!

  • Gaygael

    I support (preferably as a short term measure) quotas to ensure that we gain critical mass of female members.

    I think it’s shameful that only 28% of our mlas are women. I think it’s shameful that there are no our LGBT mlas.

  • Gaygael

    You have obviously no knowledge of this subject beyond an opinion. The barriers to women entering politics are exceptionallly well document and established over many decades.

    If you haven’t bothered to furnish yourself with the most basic understanding of these issues it’s probably not worth continuing the discussion.

  • On the fence!

    Well in that case then I will indeed waste no more of your time.

    Good afternoon to you.

  • Paddy Reilly

    I was not calling SF gains: you asked me for a list of where they could occur and I supplied it to you.

    The SDLP lost 357 votes in South Belfast: that is the extent of nationalist losses. Even the SF candidate in East Antrim managed to hang on. People Before Profit have designated ‘Other’ but could change to Nationalist whenever it suits them. They are more extreme than SF in many ways.

    Your figures are self-serving. I certainly don’t notice that one in five of the population has a disability. Anyway, maybe 7% of the MLAs are LBGT, they’re just keeping it to themselves as it’s none of your business. Wasn’t there that DUP man who needed a Sports Massage when he stayed at a hotel?

  • lizmcneill

    The moo-ing male politicians, perhaps?

  • Croiteir

    One of each? does that mean one, two, three, four etc as we seem to have so many “genders” nowadays?

  • Croiteir

    How di it improve representation? are there more incisive debates?

  • der11

    SF dont back it up with actions when the opportunity arises.
    The destruction of the 1916 memorial in Carnlough was the perfect time to start removing British war things from nationalist councils.
    They could easily erect the tricolor and other Irish flags to commerate events.
    Put the tricolor on the guildhall and lets see who will take it down.

  • der11

    The SDLP are down to their bare bones. The last ten years your party has crashed.
    Tell me this as a voter, why does the SDLP blame SF for Westminster cuts despite the SDLP telling us they have influance sitting over there while at the same time your party is silent on water charges and austerity in Dublin.
    Its so bad Colm Eastwood had to drag Jean McConvilles corpse onto the front page of the sindo attacking SF on the day of the last election and not a word of anger directed at FG IL and FF.
    What did you get in return?
    But you dont stand for election outside of partition and your party does not advise English voters on who they shouldnt vote for.
    What is this all about?
    And then you jump into the lap of the UUP after a pact with the DUP to minimize nationalist representation.
    And despite the soft approach you get from the media your vote continues to tumble.
    I predict the next election for the SDLP will be the same as the previous election, your worst ever.

  • der11

    They dont have any votes outside the north to lose in the first place.

  • Gaygael

    Ok. When I get some time I will dig out the old discussion.

    You also told me that greens had no chance in south Belfast (among others). Being elected 4th ahead of a sitting DUP minister, and taking the seat from the SDLP deputy leader was no mean feat.
    The extent of nationalist losses was 5.1% and 3 seats as a designation. I concur that PBP vote comes almost exclusively from nationalist areas and former SF and SDLP voters. The tally data and transfer patterns leave little other conclusion. PBP have clearly designated as other, preferring the term socialist. Fair do to them.

    I was very surprised that the east antrim candidate held on. It was one of my predicted most at risk SF seats.

    My figures are not self serving, rather they are from the uk treasury (re LGBT people) and from the NI census. Not all disabilities are visible.
    I reply don’t belief LGBT people should be disproportionally private. Smash the closet!

  • Gaygael

    Do you genuinely care?

  • Gaygael

    There are more women elected as TDs. The dail is moving towards looking like the democracy it is meant to represent.

  • john millar

    Careful we have murderers and their like in public offise

  • Sean Healy

    Women make up 51% of the population. How is that reflected in our political system?

    ——> They get to cast 51% of the ballots.

  • file

    How would removing British war symbols bring about equality if a section of the population here wants such symbols? Equality is not about denying other people access to cultural expression, it is about ensuring everyone has access to cultural expression.

  • Paddy Reilly

    As I recall, the top two on my list of potential Nationalist gains were South Down and Upper Bann. In Upper Bann the UUP pipped the SDLP by about 250 votes. Amazingly, in South Down Unionists managed to hold 2 quotas with near perfect transfers.

    One would expect results like these to be overturned in the coming election, but because of the reduction in seats it is a different ballgame.It’s not worth trying to establish a trend because next the constituencies will be changing.

    I am surprised that the UK treasury has reliable statistics on LGBT people.

  • Gaygael

    The treasury scoped (with all the usual cavetas on LGBT populations) in advance of civil partnership legislation.
    I’m quite excited about the election predictions.
    Where are you predicting SF gains this time?

  • Gaygael

    From a list of candidates in 2016 that was 67% male.

  • Sean Healy

    Yes.

    I think identity politics is very divisive but if you see the world that way then the answer would be to stand more candidates without compelling the world around you to share your values.

    Compelling others to share one’s beliefs and values doesn’t have a good track record of enabling peace and civility.

  • Croiteir

    And that is precisely the answer I feared that I would get. appearance is all, substance is not. I want substance, I do not care if the Dail is 100% male, I equally do not care if it is 100% female. I care about the quality of representation.

  • Croiteir

    As I said in reply to another of your posts, not even a tiny bit.

  • lizmcneill

    Well, that’s just common politeness. I do the same. Most women don’t care who holds a door, it’s of more benefit to them to have equal pay, better access/policies for family leave and childcare, and countering stereotypes like “girls are bad at maths”.

  • Paddy Reilly

    As there has been a reduction in the number of seats per constituency from 6 to 5, it is not a matter of predicting gains for anyone, but rather assigning losses.

    The two near misses I mentioned involved the SDLP, not SF.

  • Reader

    Jams O’Donnell: It is by now well documented that e.g. firms benefit substantially by the inclusion of women board members.
    I don’t doubt it. Do those documents indicate what is the magic % representation to get those benefits?

  • Pete

    Nonsense.

    Gender is wholly irrelevant.

    Does anyone ever complain that the nursing profession is 90% female? Thankfully not.

  • Gaygael

    Lovely person. Let’s hope you have no queer children or grandchildren.

  • Gaygael

    Redressing inequalities is a core function of democracy. Legislation is one of many tools in making that happen.

  • Croiteir

    Why?

  • Eugene Mcdonnell

    Gender equality and equality for the lgbt community, whilst noble, were not, as far as I’m aware, central tenets of republican doctrine. This obsession with ‘equality’ within Sinn Fein serves as a distraction to the fact that the aim of reuniting Ireland has long since been dropped, and the myth which Sinn Fein perpetuates that people like Bobby sands died for ‘equality’ is why they are becoming a laughing stock in the north amongst republican people.

    If Sinn Fein promoted female politicians and assembly members with any political nouse, then I could understand the platitudes. Considering the best they can offer is the awful NI cullain and the laughably bad Michelle o’neill (who’s looks cover a multitude of sins), good luck to you. Is it any wonder your vote is stagnating and getting ready to plummet?

    If they had the ability of Claire Hannah, Naomi long or pengilly, it might be worth cheering about. Sadly, Sinn Fein seem to be looking at gender rather than ability when filling their posts. Laughable.